One of the dangers for us in the grace movement is to find ourselves arguing and defending our theology of rewards and the doctrine of assurance, not to mention defending the clarity of the gospel. These topics are vital and we must define and defend these issues. But are we in danger of working so hard on these that we forget to engage in the main thingâ€”personal evangelism! I feel a twinge of guilt at asking this since I am not always sharing my faith. I don’t hide from it but I do not look for opportunities enough in my daily life encounter. Perhaps it is the same for you?
One of our recent releases is a resource that you can use personally or in small groups to keep your focus on sharing the good news. Dr. Larry Moyer, President of EvanTell, endorsed this book as a tool to help you interact with key passages in the gospel of John and help you share the gift of eternal life.
â€œHave you ever been at a sporting event, or watched them on television where someone in the crowd is holding up a sign that reads, â€œJohn 3:16â€? Most people know that person who got himself or herself in the eye of the camera is trying to tell the world about Jesus. That reference on their sign has become probably the most famous quote from Jesus. There are slight variations in our English translations of the Bible, yet here is that quote straight from the mouth of Jesus, â€œFor this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.â€ There is a lot packed into that single verse.
Years ago I was at a Billy Graham crusade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Reverend Billy Graham preached on this very quote from Jesus. He said in his powerful Southern accent, â€œWhere the word â€˜worldâ€™ is in that verse, put your name in there. God so loved you that He gave His one and only Son.â€ Billy went on to describe how we are separated from God because of sin in our lives. â€œSinâ€ is the wrong we think, feel, and do in our lives. â€œSinâ€ is not being perfect and holy as we measure ourselves against a perfect and holy God. In another verse in the Bible it says, â€œFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.â€ The â€œwagesâ€ or the cost of sin is â€œdeath.â€ This â€œdeathâ€ is the death of our relationship or connection with God. It is a separation from God. It has resulted in a lack of knowing Him and knowing His love for us.
John, Jesus, & Me
God so loves you and me that He sent His one and only Son to mend this relationship through His death. Jesus paid the â€œwageâ€ for our sin. He paid the penalty for our sins so that they would be forgiven and we then could know God and his love for us, and be with Him forever.
When Billy Graham told us in the audience sitting in the County Stadium (where the Milwaukee Brewers used to play) so many years ago that God loved each of us and He sent his Son to mend our relationship with Him, I felt like he was talking directly to me. He described the truth that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty (or wages) for my sins, and what I needed to do was to believe in Him, to put my faith in Him, to trust in Him to save me through what He did for me. Way back then, as a teenager, I put my faith in Jesus as my personal Saviorâ€”He saved me from eternal separation from God and brought me into a relationship with Him that started that day and continues to this day. And I know it will last forever.
What Jesus did for me, He wants to do for you. He wants to save you and give you the free gift of eternal life, which is a relationship we enter into with Him that can start today and lasts forever. I would suggest to you to put your name into the verse John 3:16, where it says the word â€œworld,â€ because it is trueâ€”God so loves you.
To understand His love for each of us and the difference He wants to make in our lives, take some time to work through the pages of this short book. Go through it with a friend, a family member, a co-worker, someone you feel comfortable enough with to open your heart and mind to and to talk about what just might become the most important part of your lifeâ€”to know God and to be known by Him.
We begin by unpacking the story that surrounds that famous verseâ€”John 3:16. Turn to chapter one of John, Jesus, & Me, and letâ€™s begin a journey together through the Gospel of John, talking about Jesus, and sharing with each other what is happening in our own lives. Letâ€™s have a conversation about the gospel of John, the Messiah Jesus, and you and me.â€
Until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Grace Theology Press